Express Entry: A Step-by-Step Guide to Immigrating to Canada

Explore Canada's Express Entry system, your key to skilled worker immigration. This guide breaks down the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), providing insights into eligibility requirements, work experience, and more. Find out how you can embark on a journey to Canadian permanent residence.

Canada’s Express Entry system is an efficient online platform designed to manage immigration applications from skilled workers. It is a multi-faceted program encompassing various immigration pathways.

In this article, we’ll delve into the details of how Express Entry works and the steps involved in securing an invitation to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an online system that the Canadian government uses to manage immigration applications from skilled workers. It is a points-based system that assesses your eligibility and ranks you in a pool of candidates. The candidates with the highest scores are invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

How Express Entry Works

Who is Eligible for Express Entry?

To be eligible for Express Entry, you must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 64
  • Have at least one year of skilled work experience in the past 10 years
  • Meet the language requirements for at least one of the following official languages of Canada: English or French
  • Have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family members in Canada

Canada Immigration Programs under Express Entry

Express Entry administers three key immigration programs tailored to different categories of skilled workers:

1. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

Eligibility: The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is tailored for individuals who already have Canadian work experience, making them well-suited for Canadian society and the workforce.

Work Experience Requirement: To qualify for CEC, candidates must have accrued their Canadian work experience within the three years preceding their application. This work experience can range from skilled jobs in various sectors, including professional, technical, or managerial roles.

The essence of this requirement is to ensure that the candidates have recent and relevant experience in the Canadian job market, which enhances their chances of successfully integrating into the Canadian workforce and contributing to the country’s economy.


2. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

Eligibility: The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is designed for skilled workers who have acquired their work experience outside Canada.

Eligibility Criteria: Candidates interested in the FSWP must meet specific criteria related to their education, work experience, and other factors.

These criteria may include but are not limited to, a minimum level of education (usually a Canadian equivalency of a foreign degree), language proficiency (typically demonstrated through language test results), and work experience in an occupation that is classified as a skilled trade.

Meeting these criteria helps assess whether candidates possess the necessary qualifications to contribute to Canada’s labour market and society.


3. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

Eligibility: The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) caters to skilled workers who have specialized qualifications in various skilled trades.

Job Offer or Certification Requirement: To be eligible for FSTP, applicants must meet one of two requirements. They must either have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer in a skilled trade occupation or possess a certificate of qualification in their respective trade.

The job offer demonstrates a recognized demand for their skills in the Canadian job market, while the certificate of qualification ensures that their skills meet the standards and requirements of the trade.

These requirements ensure that FSTP candidates are prepared to contribute their specialized skills to the Canadian workforce, bolstering the nation’s trade industries and its overall economy.


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The Step-by-Step Process for Express Entry

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility

Before you embark on the Express Entry journey, you need to assess your eligibility. There are two methods to confirm eligibility for one of the Express Entry programs:

Step 2: Calculate Your CRS Score

If you meet the criteria for one or more Express Entry programs and have submitted your profile, you will be ranked in the Express Entry pool using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

The CRS is a points-based system that evaluates and scores your profile, ultimately determining your position in the Express Entry pool. To receive an invitation, your score must exceed the minimum points threshold for the specific round of invitations. You can estimate your CRS score using the CRS tool.


Step 3: Prepare Your Documents

To complete your Express Entry profile, you will need various documents, such as language test results, to validate your eligibility. It’s essential to anticipate that some documents might take a considerable amount of time to obtain. Therefore, preparing these documents well in advance is recommended.

Step 4: Fill Out Your Express Entry Profile

Your Express Entry profile is the place where you provide comprehensive information about yourself, including your skills, education, work experience, and language proficiency. If you meet the eligibility criteria, your profile will be accepted, and you will receive a CRS score.

Step 5: Receive an Invitation and Apply

The highest-scoring candidates in the Express Entry pool receive invitations to apply for permanent residence. Once you receive an invitation, you will have 60 days to submit your application. Most complete applications with all supporting documents are processed within six months or less.

Canada Work Permit

How to Increase Your Chances of Success

To increase your chances of success in the Express Entry process, you should:

  • Make sure that your profile is complete and accurate
  • Get the highest possible language test scores
  • Get a provincial nomination: If you are nominated by a province or territory, you will receive additional points in the CRS
  • Get a job offer from a Canadian employer: A job offer will give you additional points in the CRS and will also improve your chances of being invited to apply

What Happens After You Are Invited to Apply?

If you are invited to apply for permanent residence, you will have 60 days to submit an online application. You will also need to provide supporting documentation, such as your work experience verification, language test results, and police certificates.

Once you have submitted your application, IRCC will process it. If your application is approved, you will be issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). You can then use your COPR to travel to Canada and become a permanent resident.


Canada’s Express Entry system provides a clear and streamlined path for skilled workers to apply for permanent residence in the country. By following the step-by-step process and meeting the necessary criteria, individuals can enhance their chances of receiving an invitation to apply for immigration to Canada.

Express Entry represents Canada’s commitment to attracting and welcoming talented individuals who can contribute to the country’s economic growth and cultural diversity.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, he's passionate about writing.

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